There are many ways to improve productivity around the office, but a problem that has been growing over the years is what employees get up to on their computers as soon as the bosses back is turned. It may be that single employee who you have an inkling is spending too much time on Youtube, or you may think you have an issue with your entire workforce. Whatever reason there is, a lot of companies have turned to computer monitoring software for help.
Computer monitoring software does exactly what it says on the tin: it monitors all activity that happens on the machine it is installed on. And if necessary it can also do this in secret. The first thing that comes to mind for most people when discussing monitoring software is legality and morals. Is it legal to install this type of software on employee’s computers? Yes, although every countries laws differ, in the vast majority you can install monitoring software on any computer you own. This of course means that if you have a boss to answer to you should get their consent first. The morality of installing this type of software depends on the individual and the severity of the situation. In some countries you must inform your employee(s) that they are being monitored, in others it’s up to you, so check your local laws before starting.
So what about the software itself -how does it work and what exactly does it do? There are a few different types of monitoring software, all can be downloaded and installed very easily. The more computers you want to install it on the longer it will take, but it should only take a few minutes for each machine in the office. The two types mentioned here are computer monitoring software and office monitoring software, and what you want to achieve will determine which you’ll need to go for.
Computer monitoring software is (usually) used to monitor a single computer. Once installed on the computer it will monitor everything, including websites visited, applications used, document and file activity (that’s anything opened, saved, moved or deleted), anything typed and anything printed (features vary from developer to developer but this is a standard set of features). You can set the software to run in hidden mode, so that no sign of it will be seen in places like the start menu, task manager or program files directory, or in visible mode so that an icon in the tray will let the user know they are being monitored. Either way you’ll need a password to access the interface. To view the results you can either log in on the actual machine, or set the software to send the reports to you via email every X seconds/hours.
Computer monitoring software should be used if you’d like to monitor either a single or a few computers. The other option is office monitoring software, which works in the same way as computer monitoring software but has a few extra features. Be warned, office monitoring software can get expensive depending on the amount of machines you’d like it installed on, but it does have its advantages.
As well as the above features, office monitoring software can be installed on each machine and controlled and viewed from a single computer (yours, for example). From there you can monitor each computer in real time; seeing a mini screen for each computer you own. You can also control each computer from your own, which is helpful if an employee has a problem that they need your help with. The main difference between the two types is that having office monitoring software being controlled from one single computer makes it easy to manage the entire office, rather than logging into each computer to view the logs, or waiting for an email. Office monitoring software is recommended for an office that has 10 or more computers that need monitoring.
As you can see, each type of monitoring software has its merits. If you’d like to monitor a handful of computers at home or at the office (up to say 10), you should be using computer monitoring software, but if you have a large office where you feel that all round productivity could be improved choose office monitoring solutions.